39 answers

To Buy Organic or not...how Much Does Nutrition Count?

Since the time when my son turned 6 months old and started eating solids, I have become obsessed with trying to provide the best nutrition that I can for my son. I have done research on the internet and through books. I have tried making my own baby food and read the labels on the foods I purchased at the stores. My question is what have other mothers done to try and provide good nutrition for their children? And also (for more experienced moms), does it really benefit children to be so careful about what they eat?

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I just read an article in Cooking Light magazine about a research study that shows how a lot of organic foods have way higher nutrition content than non-organic, b/c of the increased length of time organics stay on the vine/tree/etc. Some organics, like peppers and grains, do not have any extra nutrition, but most others do. I'm also a first time Mom at 38 w/ an 8 month old, and to me, nutrition and diet is everything. I use www.doortodoororganics.com to get fresh organics deliverd to my door for a v. reasonable price (and I'm frugal).

2 moms found this helpful

IMO It really doesn't matter. I went the baby food from the store with my first, he still drinks regular juice and junk food. His weight is finally above the 30 percentile and he's very healthy. He does have Autism but he's very high fuctioning. I have had people tell me it's because of red food dyes and immunizations. I think, it just happens.

My youngest son was fed homemade baby food and I kept him on organic juice, for a while it was all he liked. He's still under the tenth percentile. He has had more infections, mostly strep, and has more allergies. He was born with Strep B that I gave him, unknowingly, back then, they didn't give antibiotics to pregnant mom's. I took antiboitics for the strep I had but it still passed through to him. He doesn't like food much, now either (only junk)

Hi B.,
I loved Katie H.'s response. There is so much emphasis on food labels in the US that is is very confusing for the average consumer. Stick with locally grown food. Go to the farmer's market or whole foods stores and buy the freshest, least processed foods you can find. A frozen dinner that says organic may still be packed with fat or sugars or worse (chemical sugar substitutes). I look at the ingredient labels and if it has more than just a handful of ingredients, I put it back. There is no reason to pump or little ones full of artificial flavorings and colorings and preservatives. We are lucky enough in this country to have an abundance of fresh foods available to us. Take advantage of it. If you are a reader, I highly suggest "In Defense Of Food".
Take care,
B.

More Answers

Hi B.,

I wanted to respond to your question because I am very educated on organic food principles and standards. I studied organic agriculture in college and am now going into a natural health degree. I have a 9 month old son, so I can share your concern. Here's a little info on organic food: To answer your question, there is not necessarily more "nutrients" in organic foods. The emphasis is rather placed on what is absent in organic foods--which are chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, genetically-modified organisms, etc. which can be harmful to the body.

The problem, however, is that it is very expensive for a farm to get their organic certification by the USDA, who patented the term "organic". Also, to state that your products are "certified organic" by USDA standards, they do not even have to be 100% organic, which is misleading. However, if you are shopping at a natural foods store, the staff is well aware of this, and tries to support local farms, and product manufacturers who have ethical growing practices but may not have their products "certified organic".

The best thing my mother taught me is not to be extreme at anything...moderation is key...and she is the healthiest 50 year old that I know. So, choose the best products you can, but don't be crazy about the terms that may be misleading. I support organic as much as possible because to me it is basically the way food should be. I feel like non-organic foods should have to be labelled, "chemicals used", rather than pure food needing to be the one that is distinguished.

Nontheless, nutrition is one of most important things having to do with our health that we CAN control. ABSOLUTELY, it does affect our well being, immunity and resistence to disease, mental/emotional health, etc. The most important thing is that we limit refined, processed, and artificial foods in our diets (our kids' too!), and focus on including alive, fresh, whole foods.

Making your own baby food with fresh fruits, veggies, grains and legumes is the best way to go, and using organic (or chemical free) whenever possible is best. But just do the best you can. A GREAT book is, Homemade Baby Food, Pure & Simple, by Connie Linardakis. I love it! Good luck to you and your little one, I hope this was helpful:)

3 moms found this helpful

I had the same inititive when I had my daughter, but it was detered when she wasn't gaining weight and my instruction from my dr. where to "just get her to eat SOMETHING". I say, use you're best judgement, go with your gut, and relax. I would prefer to give my daughter an organic diet, but honestly it's more expensive than I can handle right now, and beyond that she won't eat it. So, I've decided that when she's old enough to really understand why we should or shouldn't eat certain things, I'm going to do my best to teach her. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

If you're eating healthily, feed him what you eat. It does make a difference to be health conscious, just don't go overboard and freak out if he doesn't just gobble up what you put in front of his face. It takes awhile for babies to get used to tastes and textures. My son LOVED spicy Korean food when he was six months old. I worried about side-effects, but there were none. I just used my baby grinder (he liked a more chunky texture) and he got what we got. He's now 14 and taller than I am!
My opinion is, if it's washed properly and cooked well, organic food is just another way to spend more money for the same thing. Give him choice and variety and you AND he will do fine! You're a good mommy.

2 moms found this helpful

I feed my daughter, and us, organic food whenever possible. I just read about organic vs. conventional butter. Conventional butter has more than 80 times the contaminants of organic butter, because the pesticides and chemicals are concentrated in the fat of the animal, if that makes sense.

The big thing I do to keep her healthy is not allow any sugar. I give her fun, healthy alternatives. For instance, cantaloupe has been on sale, and I take that, blend in the blender with a little water, and freeze in paper dixie cups to make a fun, whole fruit (not just juice) snack. We buy fruit sweetened ketchup, we occasionally have cookies and desserts made with honey, but avoid sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and just use healthier alternatives like agave nectar and honey. I don't want to deprive her of sweet things, but I think high sugar foods are what are causing our kids to be obese. She drinks water or milk (still whole milk, b/c she is two), with some occasional herbal tea (iced or warm). You asked what difference it makes. Emma, my daughter, is in the 70th percentile for height and the 10th for weight, long and lean. Her cousins, 10 and 3, are both obese, and their mom lets them eat lots of sugar, sodas, etc... She has them drink gatorade and calls it "juice." Anyway the three year old is in the 30th percentile for height and above the 95th percentile for weight. She is huge! Childhood obesity predisposes kids for all kinds of health issues.

Also, a great supplement to give is good EFAs. I like the brands Nordic Naturals and Carlsons for fish oils, as they are free from heavy metals and PCBs. I give her fish oil to help brain development, and also flax oil to get some other good fatty acids into her. Steer away from Omega 6, and give lots of Omega 3 fatty acids.

I think if you are going to make organic choices, meat and milk are the two big places to do that. The animals concentrate chemicals in their meat and fat, especially. One great way to help with cost, is to grow your own produce. Many cities have community gardens where you can have a garden for a small fee each year. Ours lets you have a plot from 10 x 10 to 20 x 40 for only $25/year. That includes water, which is a great deal here, as we are in a drought and water is very expensive.

Also, reducing plastics in your life is a great health practice. The chemicals in plastics (sippy cups, plates, coated spoons, etc...) are no good for baby. We got our daughter stainless steel cups, bowls, plates, etc... to help with that.

With nutrition, you have gotten some good advice. Lots of fruits and veggies, some organic meat and dairy, not a lot of breads or crackers, but some whole grains like brown rice or bulghur. Good for you for caring enough to make your own baby food! Keep up the good work!

2 moms found this helpful

Good for you in being aware. Nutrition is of the highest importance. I have studied with a woman who has been an nutritionist for 30 years she truly believes (and so do I) that every disease and ailment is caused by the bodies impaired immune system and the body not being able to get rid of toxins so the body stores them in different places and you then become ill.What is really sad is that our food no longer has the nutrition in it it once had.In 1992 at the Earth Summit in Brazil they reported soil depletion is epidemic world wide and the USA tops the charts at 85 percent. That is why we are seeing such a huge rise in disease. Here are a few things caused by your immune system not working properly.......OVERACTIVE IMMUNE DISORDERS.....Allergies(this includes food allergies. Asthma, Eczema.....UNDERACTIVE IMMUNE DISORDERS.......Bronchitis, colds and flu, chronic fatigue syndrome, ear infections, shingles, just to mention a few. AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASES ......MS, Lupus, for a few. INFLAMMATORY DISORDERS.....Fibromyalgia, Celiac disease, Crohn's disease, OTHER DISORDERS......Brain disorders like Alzheimer's, ADD/ADHD, Infertility, Heart Disease. So YES nutrition is important but you need to supplement with the best you can find. Like a whole food organic liquid.
OK so I will get down from my soap box now, but as you can see I am very passionate about people's health.
GOOD-LUCK TO YOU............J.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi B.,

I am a first time mom at age 38 as well.

This is what I have learned in trying to provide the best for my son and family...nutrition is EVERYTHING! It is so important for the health of your child and your family. Organic is important as well and worth every penny because it's not laiden with pesticides.

It was about six years ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She decided not to follow traditional western recommendations to have chemo/radiation.(talk to your doctor) We all thought she was crazy and of course we didn't want to lose our mother to cancer.

She decided to changed her diet to a veagan and began juicing. Well, she is cancer free. This began my journey on nutrition. WOW, the power of nutrition! When she gave her body the nutrition it was craving, it mustered up the energy to heal itself. She sent us a book on how to eat to prevent cancer.

I have learned so much from this health crisis in our family and most importantly learned how to care for my body to prevent disease by eating healthy and making healthy choices. I also learned to model good eating habits for my son.

This is some of what I have learned on this journey....

1. Good nutrition prevents 70% of all diseases. WOW!
2. Sugar supresses the immune function for up to 6 hours.
3. Hydrogenated oils are, bad, bad, bad!
4. Apples can be stored for up to year in warehouses.
5. Vine ripened fruits and veggies have more nutrients.
6. Fruits and veggies lose most the nutrients after 5 days of picking.

Nutrition, fruits and veggies are so important because they work on the cellular level and keep us healthy.

My son just started a class this summer and I to had to start packing lunches. His teacher made the comment to me "I have never seen asparagus in a childs lunch and your son ate it" I try and pack a fruit, veggie and a protien.I'll pack nuts and Lara bars for great snack. Dried fruits in snack packs (from costco).

Most importantly, we as parents have to model good nutrition to our children and they will follow.

Before my son was born, I owned a small garden business. I met a women at a network luncheon who did a presentation on nutrition and talked about Juice Plus. Well this juice plus, (26 fruits, veggies and grains in a capsule, chewable and gummie) stuff just made sense to me because I knew my life was busy and I wasn't getting enough fruits and veggies in my diet and I had learned how important they were from my mothers health crisis. So I started taking it. I took it all through my pregnancy and while nursing.

Would you believe, when I stopped nursing my son, he kept getting sick. Well the difference was that he was no longer getting the whole food nutrients found in the juice plus. Wow, I thought, I need to learn more about this Juice Plus stuff. What I found is that there are 12 amazing research studies supporting what Juice Plus does in and for the body. Most importantly to me was the fact that it supports the immune function. So I bought some of the gummies for my son and his has been so healthy. We only go to the doctor for well visits.

I decided, I have to share this with people and this began my journey of helping other families with the challenge of nutrition. It's so hard especially with kids to get them to eat fruits and veggies, I felt I needed to do my part and share what I have learned. Juice Plus helps us as a family to bridge the gap of what we, can't won't and don't eat. It is or nutritional safety belt.

I encourage you to learn more at www.DenverJuicePlus.com or attend a health event. Find one in your area www.juiceplusevents.com.

Good luck!

L.
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2 moms found this helpful

My children are healthier (sick less often; low body fat) than any family I've every met. Here's what we do:

First, I never gave the babies/toddlers juice. It's pretty much sugar water -- how can that benefit my child? Second, I rarely gave the babies/toddlers bags of junk crackers/carbs to snack on. Yet when you go the the mall, all the little ones are drinking juice and eating junk carbs.

Third, they've been getting milk/eggs from organic sources their whole life. No pesticides, no hormones, no antibiotics.

"But I can't afford that!" We went without vacations and luxury items rather than skimp on the children's health. Most families do the exact opposite.

I believe it makes a huge difference.

2 moms found this helpful

Feeding your child regular non organic baby food is just as healthy as anything else. It is wonderful that you try to prepare homemade food, I think if all Mom's were able to they would provide it also, however, I am and I don't. I have a baby and I worry that I won't puree the food fine enough for her to swallow. Both my girls, thank goodness are healthy and happy and tall and thin. I have been using regular Gerber's since day one.

Of course, it is important to be careful about what they eat, fruits and vegy's are essential. However, according to our pediatrician and books I have read, I am not sure that you are getting more from organic than regular.

Teaching your son good nutrition will be the key. Also, teaching him how to curb on snacks down the road will help him later. My kids are allowed ice cream and chocolate just at the right times of day and only "so much". I love that my oldest grabs for the clementines instead of the M&M's when she wants a snack.

Do what you are doing best, watch your son grow and learn!!!

About me - 45 with a one and a five year old.

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